Back to the Future for Hydrogen
ScottMadden, Inc., one of North America’s leading management consulting firms specializing in energy, recently released its latest edition of The ScottMadden Energy Industry Update (EIU). Themed “Running Up That Hill,” this report explores how in the midst of and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, many efforts in the energy industry can feel like running uphill, yet progress continues.
The energy industry and governments around the world are beginning to view hydrogen as a promising carbon-free energy resource. Hydrogen can be deployed in various ways, including end-use heating, power generation fuel, or transportation. However, a potential transition to a hydrogen-based energy economy poses technical and financial hurdles that must be addressed.
A variety of factors have contributed to the renewed interest in hydrogen, including decarbonization and net-zero emissions targets, lower costs of renewable energy, and storability. A near-term pathway for hydrogen energy is blending it into existing natural gas networks. This could be an attractive option in places where heat pumps or electrification applications are uneconomical or inefficient. Other potential pathways include transportation or using it as storage and fuel for power production.
While hydrogen presents significant opportunities, it also brings an array of challenges. Creating a new hydrogen pipeline infrastructure or adapting existing networks could be costly. Further, to make hydrogen an affordable element of the energy mix, scale and learning curve effects must bring down the cost of hydrogen production. Other challenges include regional differences in available hydrogen resources, agreement on standards and safety protocols, a strategy and transition plan, and a regulatory framework.
Hydrogen has the potential to be a fuel source that can enhance the benefits of natural gas. We recognize the industry’s attention and initiatives to pilot this fuel source. We look forward to seeing the initial results to evaluate the opportunities and implications of integrating hydrogen as a component of a utility decarbonization strategy.
For more information about hydrogen as a potential energy carrier, watch this video or access our latest report here.
Complimentary Energy Industry Update Webcast
If you have not yet registered, we encourage you to join ScottMadden’s complimentary webcast, “ScottMadden’s Energy Industry Update – “Running Up That Hill” on Thursday, November 19, 2020, from 1PM–2PM EST. During this session, our industry experts share their views and field questions related to the current issues in wholesale electricity markets, ambitions for hydrogen in the energy system of the future, and near-term plans to move toward net-zero CO2 emissions. Cristin Lyons, partner and energy practice leader, will serve as webcast moderator. Register for this webcast here.
About ScottMadden’s Energy Practice
We know energy from the ground up. Since 1983, we have served as energy consultants for hundreds of utilities, large and small, including all of the top 20. We focus on Transmission & Distribution, the Grid Edge, Generation, Energy Markets, Rates & Regulation, Enterprise Sustainability, and Corporate Services. Our broad, deep utility expertise is not theoretical—it is experience based. We have helped our clients develop and implement strategies, improve critical operations, reorganize departments and entire companies, and implement myriad initiatives.